Scene shifts to courts
Drug bust complete with 30th arrest

by Derek Neary
Northern News Services

NNSL (Apr 13/98) - The fate of 29 suspects arrested in an RCMP drug sting now rests in the hands of the court.

The 30th, and final, suspect in the operation turned himself into police in Vancouver last Monday. One person was not charged while the rest face conspiracy to traffic in a controlled substance charges.

"We've got everyone we're looking for," RCMP Sgt. Tom Steggles said of the bust, which included more than 20 arrests in Iqaluit and another in Pangnirtung.

Sixteen of the suspects are being held in custody, most of them at the Baffin Regional Correctional Centre in Iqaluit.

Those who have been released are scheduled to appear to appear in court to enter pleas on May 11

Some of those charged will be released in exchange for information, according to Steggles. However, he said he believes most will meet with "serious" penalties in court.

The flow of drugs has been slowed, temporarily at least, but "someone's going to take over," the drug trade, according to Const. Paul Richer, a one-year veteran of the Iqaluit detachment.

That's not to say all the drug dealers in Iqaluit are currently out of commission. "There's plenty more that we're looking at now," Const. Paul Richer said.

In the meantime, it seems more people are turning to alcohol to get their fix.

"There's not enough drugs in town to supply everybody so now they're drinking," Richer said. "We're getting assaults left and right. It's all related to booze."

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